Statement by Tony Sheldon on Qantas Arbitration

Release date: 22/03/2012

The arbitration hearing before Fair Work Australia between the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Qantas is a test case on the future of Australian employment; will we have secure Australian jobs and safety conditions or can future generations look forward to insecure work at the whim of management? That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union.

Tony was speaking today, March 22nd, in Sydney as the full bench of Fair Work Australia began the hearing of case B2011/3993 Transport Workers' Union of Australia v Qantas and Q Catering.

“Opening arguments were heard by the full bench of Fair Work Australia today and the hearing is due to continue for a number of weeks. At every juncture workplace representatives have been willing to reach a fair resolution which allows Qantas to remain a great Australian company and ensures that workers can enjoy job security, safe working conditions and fair wages.”

“Qantas senior management has refused to fairly negotiate with their workforce, as they are driven by a clear ideological agenda. Qantas management is determined to outsource; to replace workers with Qantas skills, wages and conditions with outsourced workers on substantially reduced wages and conditions. Since employees have been barred from taking industrial action by FWA, hundreds more jobs have been outsourced and hundreds more will be lost as a result of incompetent management.”

“Our claim on behalf of our Qantas members is neither excessive nor aggressive. We have not made a claim on behalf of our members for a 71% wage increase like Chief Executive Alan Joyce did last year. We have not made any faulty claims for productivity increases like the board of management, which was responsible for the disastrous failed Asia strategy. In fact, we recently submitted an amended claim to FWA attempting to reduce the scope of the arguments to be decided upon by the court. Willful misinterpretation of our position by Qantas does little to achieve a resolution and simply adds another chapter to their book of lies, lies, lies.”

Tony Sheldon concluded, “The court will decide in due course what is a fair wage. Their decision will not only affect the lives of thousands of our members and their families, but is also a test case on what Australian authorities deem acceptable behavior from militant management.”


For further information, please contact: Barry Dunning, Press Officer, TWU, Tel: 0408 463 199, email:


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